Stand up for better health


We spend so much of our lives sitting down, more so in modern times than ever before. It also seems to be addictive, considering how people rush for a seat on the bus or train after a long day sitting in front of a computer screen in an office. Yet simply standing up can help improve health. Let’s try to revive some interest by reminding ourselves of forgotten benefits.

Why it’s important to “stand on your own two feet”

“Standing on your own two feet” has traditionally been the mark of when a person becomes self- reliant, but standing upright on two feet is also a defining human characteristic. No wonder then that an increasingly deskbound and sedentary lifestyle can lead to unnecessary health complications.

Sitting for extended periods of time causes:

  • Tightness in our hip flexors
  • Leading to potential spinal problems and a dip in physical performance

Yet there is a simple fix: spend more time on your feet.

How much time do you spend sitting each day?

Count-up how many hours you spend seated every day to determine whether you need to spend more time on your feet. Reflect carefully if this sounds like a typical day:

After getting ready in the morning you:

  • sit down for breakfast
  • sit down in the car or public transport on the way to work
  • sit down at your desk
  • sit for lunch
  • return to work at your desk
  • sit in the car or on public transport returning home
  • eating dinner and then sitting watching TV or reading before going to bed

This would not be an unusual day for many of us, but it means that creatures designed to stand up now spend most of their lives lying or sitting down, with negative consequences for our health.

The benefits of standing up

Over time benefits can include:

  • more flexible and mobile hips
  • improving physical performance
  • reduce stress on your spine, meaning a smaller chance of lower back pain in the future

Standing up can also improve mental alertness through improved blood flow.  As soon as you sit down, you start to switch off.

My view is most of the day should be spent on our feet, being an advocate for stand-up desks in the office, but for those of you yet to be convinced do at least consider how to incorporate more standing into your life. Standing on the bus or train is a good place to start – and it probably won’t be too hard to achieve if your commute is as crowded as mine in London. Start to stand up for yourself on your own two feet. If you don’t need to sit down make standing instinctive; the health benefits can be quite substantial.

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          About the author

Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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